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This is a regularly updated story with the latest information, news and updates about the coronavirus and its impact in Arizona and beyond for Thursday, Aug. 13.
PHOENIX – Arizona health authorities reported 1,351 new coronavirus cases and 36 more deaths on Thursday morning.
That brought the state’s documented totals to 190,794 infections and 4,383 fatalities, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.
Multiple key metrics about the severity of Arizona’s pandemic, including coronavirus-related hospitalizations, are at or near the lowest they’ve been in a month or more.
The rolling seven-day average for newly reported cases fell to 1,034.29 on Wednesday, the lowest it’s been since June 9, according to tracking by The Associated Press.
After a big daily report that included almost 100 fatalities identified through death certificate matching, the seven-day average of newly reported deaths increased to 59.29 on Wednesday. That was the highest since Aug. 5.
The spread of coronavirus in Arizona has been slowing in the weeks after the implementation of face mask requirements by local governments in many areas — including all of Maricopa County — and statewide executive orders to close businesses such as bars and gyms and to restrict restaurant occupancy.
Those moves were made after the state became a global hot spot for the coronavirus, which has no impact on some people and is seriously debilitating or fatal for others. Infected people without symptoms – which include but are not limited to cough, fever and difficulty breathing — are capable of spreading the virus.
Arizona’s weekly positive rate for diagnostic PCR tests, which shows how much the virus is spreading, is on pace to fall for the sixth consecutive week.
For the 14,278 samples taken since Sunday that have been processed and recorded, the positive rate is 6%. If that rate holds up, it would be the lowest since the week starting May 17.
Weekly rates are based on when the samples are taken, not when they are reported, so the percentage for recent weeks can fluctuate as labs get caught up on testing backlogs.
The Arizona health department’s daily reports present case, death and testing data after the state receives statistics and confirms them, which can lag by several days or more. They don’t represent the actual activity over the past 24 hours.
The hospital data posted each morning, however, is reported the previous evening by the hospitals and shows coronavirus-related hospitalizations trending down for the past month.
The number of Arizona’s confirmed or suspected COVID-19 inpatients fell to 1,411 on Wednesday, the fewest since June 11.
The number of COVID-19 patients in ICU beds fell to 497 after rising for two days, dropping under 500 for the first time since June 14.
COVID-19 inpatients peaked at 3,517 on July 13, and COVID-19 patients in ICU beds topped out at 970 the same day.
Overall, inpatient beds were 82% full on Wednesday, 1 point above the previous day. The inpatient occupancy rate peaked at 88% on July 9-10.
The ICU occupancy rate was 80% for the second consecutive day. It topped out at 91% on July 7.
Hospital bed data on the health department website does not include surge beds that have not been activated but can potentially increase capacity.
Below are Thursday’s latest developments about the coronavirus pandemic from around the state, country and world:
There were more than 20.6 million coronavirus cases and 750,000 deaths reported globally as of Wednesday morning, according to Johns Hopkins University. For the U.S., there were more than 5.2 million cases and 166,000 deaths.
For all articles, information and updates on the coronavirus from KTAR News, visit ktar.com/coronavirus.